The American consulate in India has registered an unprecedented 60% jump in the number of student visas issued this year. With most of the visas issued between October 1, 2014, and September 30, 2015, expected to translate into admissions in US varsities, the number of Indian students heading to America this year is much higher than last year’s 1,02,673.
More than 50% of Indian students going abroad for education are choosing the US. America’s 9,000 institutions and diversity of education continue to be a big magnet for them. The rising number of visa approvals and admissions is a testimony to America’s popularity among Indian students.
From just 54,664 students going to the US at the turn of the century, the numbers hit a peak of 1,04,897 in 2009-10, dipped marginally for three consecutive years, before gaining by 6% last year. Besides domestic factors like rising income levels of Indians and higher aspiration for a foreign education, one key relative development that has led to the surge in American admissions is the fall in the number of UK admissions — a 50% drop has been seen in the past few years. Following recent unfavourable changes in UK visa rules that prevent students from staying on after finishing their education, the liberal American visa regime has gained favour among them.